[sic] Magazine

Patient Hands – Stoic

A few weeks ago I received a package in the mail containing a tape cassette promo by Canadian artist Patient Hands. Having not owned a cassette player since many years it took me a while to actually listen to Stoic. Yet they (he) piqued my curiosity simply by sending such a redundant format in this day and age. I felt I too ought to go the extra mile and at least hear it. Before anyone says, yes I do know that tapes have become hip and cool again. I, unfortunately, have not so I’m thankful that I made the effort to hear his record. It is really quite enchanting.

Stoic evokes much of the transatlantic ‘weird and wonderful’ness of 4ADs first ‘American’ period. His Name Is Alive loom large here. Red House Painters larger still. The albums opening pairing of ‘At Parting’ and ‘I Shaved My Fathers Face’ are simply flooring in both design and execution. The former is a gentle piano exploration with somnambulist murmurs and a heartbreaking chord change. The latter emerges from minimalist drone before bursting into incandescence. It’s as though Koselek wandered Down Colourful Hill and into Livonia. At times Stoic also recalls n5MD’s electronic oddball Tobias Lilja. Yet Stoic is lighter and less challenging than the Swedes bleak landscapes. Its feet remain firmly planted on folk terrain.

Patient Hands (real name Alex Stooshinoff) has created something magical with Stoic. There is both poignancy and humour here for at its heart Stoic is a record about overcoming depression. As Alex himself explains over at his Bandcamp page, he went through a dark phase where he became overwhelmed by emptiness. Instead of fighting it he chose to surrender to that state and in doing so was able to move forwards. Stoic was the product of the fertile period of creativity which then followed. I imagine it was a healthy and cathartic experience for Alex. Kudos to him for channeling his energies into something this worthwhile and turning a negative into something so positive. ‘Poisoner’, ‘Something Vanishing’ and the aforementioned ‘I Shaved My Fathers Face’ are the obvious standout offerings if you’re looking for a window into the album. That said, the rest bristles with imagination and verve. I heartily recommend it.

The cassettes are numbered limited editions. Ultra limited ‘zine’ version is almost sold out. Digital download also available.